Spa in Thailand
Thailand has emerged as the spa capital of Asia in the past couple decades. Drawing on its rich tradition of homegrown remedies and herbal knowledge, the country has tapped into these folk traditions to build a vibrant, modern spa industry. 
Nowadays, spas of sorts and sizes can be found throughout Thailand, but the most famous and exclusive are found in Thailand’s largest cities: Bangkok, Phuket, Pattaya, Koh Samui, Chiang Mai, and Hua Hin. Nonetheless, all major tourist attractions offer a superb choice of diverse spa treatments, offered by the hour, by the week, or by the month, depending on one’s needs, commitment, and investment. 
Introduced in the early 1990s, spas in Thailand are growing in popularity each year. Not only are spas popular and fashionable with foreign tourists and expatriates, but the local Thais are also enjoying this new alternative therapy, one which is often ideal to ensure a smooth natural balance. The emerging middle class and big city dwellers are particularly fond of spas, and enjoy visiting them to relax, cleanse, and purify. At first, spas were only to be found in 5-star hotels but they have now mushroomed everywhere. 
Thailand’s prominence in the Spa Industry has been confirmed repeatedly by numerous awards during the past five years. For 2012-2013, Thailand received the “Best Spa Destination (Asia),” Reader’s choice Award from readers of AsiaSpa India Magazine, India’s most popular spa and wellness industry magazine. This was the third time that Thailand has won this award, having previously won the same award in 2008 and 2009. 
Also in 2012, Thailand was awarded the Asian Spa Capital of the Year Award at the 8th Annual Asia Spa Awards. This was only one of five awards that Thailand picked up in the category of Thai Spas, Health and Wellness Resorts, more than any other country received. 
In 2009, Thailand received AsiaSpa Magazine’s biggest prize as well, “Asian Spa Capital of the Year,” during its 5th annual awards. 
Facts and statistics
During the years 2000–2002, the growth of the spa industry in Thailand rocketed by an exhilarating 64% and since 1999 Thailand has secured itself a top-5 world rating. In fact, Thailand is the second highest ranked spa destination of the world with an overall grade of 93%+ (just slightly behind Australia).
During the period June 2001 – June 2002, 230 operators serviced 2.5 million international clients, creating revenue of $85 million. This amount well exceeds that of competitive countries, such as Singapore ($35 million) and Australia ($15 million). In total, 79% of all clients were foreigners.
There are 1,463 registered spas, health shops, and other beauty facilities with certificated from the Public Health Ministry of Thailand as of February 2011. Of these, 454 are spas, although there are also many small, unrecognized spas throughout Thailand.
The educational system within Thailand has responded to the demand from the spa industry, and fields of studies within vocational schools, colleges, and universities have expanded accordingly to include healthcare, medical massage, and alternative medical treatment. Thailand now has the capacity to produce about 10,000 trained personnel in these fields to serve the industry annually. 
There are numerous different types of spa services in Thailand which focus heavily on Thai massage. They are categorized as massage for health, massage for beauty and traditional massage.
The variety of spas in Thailand is wide and is found at almost every destination in Thailand. They are:
- Destination spa: The most famous destination spa in Thailand is Chiva-Som which attracts floods of visitors from all around the world who come to Thailand specifically to be pampered there.
Spas in this category include health resorts and retreats that provide customized, personal care to clients wanting to create a healthier lifestyle for themselves. These facilities normally offer multi-day stays where they receive extensive treatment and training. During their stays, they can learn and experience a wide variety of treatments and therapies, including yoga, therapeutic massage, fitness classes, beauty treatments, and many more options according to their preferences and needs. 
- Hotel spas / Resort spas / Retreat spas: Popular spas like there can be found at the top hotels in the major tourists destinations including Phuket, Pattaya, Hua Hin, Bangkok, Ko Samui and Chiang Mai.
Among this multitude of hotel, resort, and retreat spas are some of the finest, most beautiful and exclusive spas in the world, including Anantara Spa (Anantara Golden Triangle Resort & Spa),Banyan Tress Spa Phuket, Six Senses Samui. Approximately 46% of Thailand’s spas fall into this category. Most of the hotel spas cater both to their own in-house guests as well as being open to outside clients. 
- Day spas / City spas: Are located in the center of the major towns, Bangkok particularly. They are aimed at business folk who have been stressed out because of their busy life-styles.
While these day spas cater largely to the tourist market, many office workers and businesspersons in Thailand also avail themselves of their services. They are focused largely on relaxation, stress relief, and cleansing of environmental impurities. Popular day spas include Sukko Cultural Spa & Wellness (Phuket), Oasis Spa Bangkok, Divana Virtue Spa and THANN Sanctuary. These type of spas are for one-day or less visits, often for a matter of hours only. They offer a menu of a la carte services from which the client can pick and choose. Many of these spas were formerly beauty salons of one type or another, and have evolved into the more popular day spas.
- Hospital / Medical spas: These spas are those which are run by licensed alternative therapy practitioners or healthcare professionals. They focus on improving patients’ physical as well as mental health, and they are sometimes one part of a more formal, comprehensive rehabilitation program. Services cover a wide range of treatments and therapies, from medical massage and physiotherapy to more alternative treatments such as homeopathy, herbal treatments, or crystal therapy.
Medical spas can be found throughout Thailand, but are concentrated in the Kingdom’s larger cities, especially Bangkok, Phuket, Pattaya, and Chiang Mai. There are also dedicated centers such as St. Carlos Medical Spa, Balanze by Hydrohealth and TRIA. 
- Club spas: Emphasize on strong body through different facilities being massage, steaming and sauna, hot and cold Jacuzzi, yoga and other physical exercises without a stay at the provider’s place.
- Cruise ship spas: are popular in Thailand with the older generation who wish for not a spa but also the views of the sea and a breath of fresh air. There is also a healthy Thai Spa diet for passengers during the voyage.
- Home / Mobile spas: Are spas in Thailand where the trainer visits the client and not the other way around, beats having to travel through the busy streets of Bangkok.
- Fusion spas: Are popular with hip Thai and foreign people who want to try out the latest most fashionable type of spa.
- Theme spas: Are in the form of Thai-style parks, gardens or parties.
- Genuine spas: Are the type of spas where their themes are deeply rooted in Thai Buddhism and its cultures and traditions.
- Mineral spring spas: Are for those who have an infatuation for Thai mineral water and its various minerals.
- Detoxicating spas: Are popular with Bangkokians whose body has suffered due to unhealthy urban life-styles.
Popular spa treatments in Thailand
Centuries worth of tradition have devised many different methods. They include pastes, mud-packs, specialized oils, muscle kneading and water jets. More of them are:
- Body scrub
- Body wraps
- Hands and feet
A massage is the most popular technique offered at spas in Thailand. The statistics concerning Thai spas conclude that 85% of the treatments given are massage. There are however, many different types of massage:
- Thai Traditional Massage: This has been practiced in Thailand for thousands of years, beginning as a spiritual practice in Thai temples. Traditional Thai Massage focuses on sen or energy lines in the body, and the purpose of Thai massage is to free up blockages in these lines in order to stimulate the flow of blood and lymph throughout the body. It is known to assist in complaints of many types, from muscle and back aches to anxiety, tension, headaches, fever, and more.  Thai massage is by far and away the most popular type of massage provided by Thai trainers. Many of the clients feel satisfied in the knowledge that the massage they received was traditionally authentic, unlike perhaps the ‘Thai’ massage they are used to back home.
- Thai Foot Massage: Thai Foot Massage is the therapeutic massage of particular areas of the soles of the feet, and to a lesser extent the lower legs. The aim is to stimulate reflex points or lines – sen in Thai – that correspond to other parts of the body: to the internal organs, the glands, and the senses. The overall goal is to improve blood and lymph circulation, and to stimulate and improve the workings of the body’s internal organs.
- Thai Herbal Compress (Herb Balls) Massage: Thai Herbal Compress Massage is in essence a multi-therapy massage treatment, combining traditional Thai massage, aromatherapy, and herbal healing. This massage therapy dates back several thousand years, and incorporates knowledge gathered and passed on for generations concerning the medicinal effects of plants, whether through ingestion or application to the body. 
- Ayurvedic massage
- Craniosacral massage
- Deep tissue massage
- Hot Stone massage: Hot Stone Massage relaxes muscles, allowing the therapist to work the muscles without using deep pressure. 
- Lymphatic massage
- Sports massage
- Stone massage
- Swedish massage:Swedish massage promotes relaxation, eases muscle tension and creates other health benefits. 
- Tai Chi
- Chi nei tsang
- Hydrotherapy bath (e.g., Jacuzzi)
- Inhalation therapy (where the saunas or steam rooms are scented with oils or herbs)
- Aromatherapy: Aromatherapy is one of the more popular spa treatments in Thailand nowadays, along with body scrubs, which cleans and purify the body through exfoliation. This is a very relaxing, modern wellness spa treatment that many enjoy without the physical aspects of traditional Thai massage or Thai foot massage. 
- Vichy Shower
- Other types of treatment:
- Signature treatments
- Spa per individual has soared in popularity in recent years in Thailand. The individual spas available in Thailand include:
- Spa for women
- Spa for men
- Spa for couples
- Spa for mothers
- Thailand Spa Index.